MBU: Virtual PC is Dead, Universal Version of Messenger on the Way

Microsoftis Macintosh Business Unit (MBU) on Monday said in a statement provided to The Mac Observer that it "has made the decision not to move forward with a Universal version of Virtual PC at this time." In addition, it said that Microsoft Messenger for Mac 6.0, shipping "later this year," will be its first Universal Binary application.

New features expected in Messenger for Mac include compatibility with the Yahoo! instant messaging service, customized emoticons, spell check, personalized status messages, and the ability to tell others which iTunes song theyire listening to.

The MBU will continue to support current Virtual PC customers, but it said that "developing a high-quality virtualization solution, such as Virtual PC, for the Intel-based Mac is similar to creating a version 1.0 release due to how closely the product integrates with Mac hardware. The Mac BU still recognizes that customers continue to need access to Windows applications from their Intel-based Macs, and feels confident that alternative solutions offered by Apple and other vendors, combined with a fully packaged retail copy of Windows, will satisfy this need."

As for Microsoft Office for the Mac, the MBU provided a status update of the transition to a Universal Binary, saying that "tens of millions of lines code have been 100 percent transitioned to Xcode on the road to a Universal version. The Mac BU also will provide free, downloadable converters to allow users of current versions of Office for Mac to read the new Microsoft Office Open XMLformats following the availability of Office for Windows."

Virtual Basic scripting support will be discontinued in the next version of Office for Mac, but the MBU "is working hard to increase support for standard Mac scripting methods such as AppleScript and Automator," it said. "As always, cross-platform compatibility remains a top priority. As we develop the next version of Office for Mac, the files will continue to be compatible across platforms, including 2007 Microsoft Office system for Windows. Although VB macros within files will not be accessible and cannot be viewed or modified, the files themselves can be edited without affecting or changing the macros. The Mac BU also is working to ensure that resources are available to help developers make the transition."

Finally, the MBU said that it is working on a free Universal version of Remote Desktop Connection client for Mac, which allows Mac users to access Windows machines on their network. No other details are available right now.